Green Party co-leaders James Shaw, Marama Davidson offered ministerial positions in 'cooperation agreement' with Labour

Green Party co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson have been offered ministerial positions in a 'cooperation agreement' with Labour after post-election negotiations. 

Newshub already learnt that Shaw had been offered the climate change portfolio - a role he's held over the last three years - but Labour's offer to give Davidson a ministerial position comes as a surprise. 

Davidson, who has never held a ministerial position before, has been offered the new position of Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence and Associate Minister of Housing with a focus on homelessness. 

Shaw will be appointed to the position of Minister of Climate Change and Associate Minister for the Environment, with a focus on biodiversity. Both Shaw and Davidson will be ministers outside of Cabinet. 

Labour will cooperate with the Greens on achieving the goals of the Zero Carbon Act through decarbonising public transport and the public sector, increasing the uptake of zero-emission vehicles, introducing clean car standards, and supporting renewable energy. 

Labour is also promising to work with the Greens on environment and biodiversity through protecting Kauri, building on pest management programmes, and taking action to minimise waste and problem plastics.

Improving child wellbeing and marginalised communities through action on homelessness, warmer homes, and child and youth mental health, is another area where Labour and the Greens will work together on. 

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern and the Green Party co-leaders will meet every six weeks to monitor progress against the areas of cooperation set out in the agreement. The chiefs of staff will also meet regularly. 

Green Party co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson.
Green Party co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson. Photo credit: Getty

"We know each other well," Ardern told reporters on Saturday after unveiling the deal. 

Both parties are committing to a 'no surprises' approach for Parliament and select committee business, meaning the Labour and the Greens will need to let each other know if they plan to oppose something. 

By signing the agreement, the Greens will promise to support the new Labour Government by not opposing votes on matters of confidence and supply for the full term of the 53rd Parliament.

The Greens could either be part of the next Government or go back into Opposition depending on how senior party delegates vote on Labour's post-election offer. 

Negotiations between the Prime Minister and Green Party co-leaders wrapped up on Friday following several meetings, and a decision by Green Party delegates is expected on Saturday or Sunday. 

Labour won 64 seats in Parliament after the election - three more than it needs to govern alone - so it does not need the Greens' 10 seats to form a Government, but self-described "consensus builder" Ardern has negotiated with them nonetheless.  

The Green Party's roughly 150 senior delegates will vote on the deal the Green co-leaders secured with Labour. If the delegates have rejected it, the Green Party will go back into Opposition. 

Prime Minister and Labour leader Jacinda Ardern.
Prime Minister and Labour leader Jacinda Ardern. Photo credit: Getty

"Once we do have some form of agreement, there is a call," Davidson said earlier this week. "We don't know exactly how long that call will take but that call is for the wider party delegates. We cannot tell at this point how long the call will take."

Shaw added: "It's a straight-up and down vote so we would either join the Government or we would not join the Government."

"We've put every effort into getting a deal that we hope is worthwhile putting to members," Davidson said. "It's hard to tell exactly how long it will take but I think the main point is we allow for the delegates to have a good look at what is put before them. It's a big decision."

Labour MP David Parker, who served as Attorney-General in the previous term, was tight-lipped on Friday when asked what the Labour-Greens deal might look like, but he said Labour was aware that New Zealanders gave the party a strong mandate. 

"Whatever happens, we will have a cooperative relationship with the Greens but I'm not going to spill the beans," he told The AM Show. "I think it's probably likely that given that we won this historic mandate, we'll be using that mandate to implement the manifesto that we were elected to implement."

National MP Simon Bridges predicted the Greens would get more than two ministers. 

"I said last week I thought they'd just get the scraps under the table because Labour will say 'we won and we don't want to look too wacky', but I'm actually starting to think, listening to the Greens, they'll get a bit more than we think." 

National MP Simon Bridges and Labour MP David Parker on The AM Show.
National MP Simon Bridges and Labour MP David Parker on The AM Show. Photo credit: The AM Show

Newshub already revealed that Labour will not be forming a formal coalition with the Greens, with the Prime Minister planning a lower-level support arrangement. 

Ardern has ruled out the Greens' wealth tax policy.  

The Greens had some wins thanks to their confidence and supply agreement with Labour in 2017, from holding a recreational cannabis referendum to delivering a progressive home ownership scheme and passing the Zero Carbon Act.  

But some promises in the agreement, such as light rail, were not progressed because Labour's then-coalition partner NZ First objected. Labour plans to move ahead with light rail now that NZ First is out of the picture, because it's also a Labour policy. 

The Greens were given ministerial positions in 2017 but those ministers were not part of Cabinet. Some say that ministerial experience the Greens have could be their strongest selling point in terms of a post-election deal with Labour.

Shaw, Sage and Julie Anne Genter were given ministerial roles in the last term of Government while Jan Logie was a parliamentary undersecretary.